Throughout the course of our lives, there are people who touch us each and every day in our journey called life. Family . . . parents, grandparents, siblings, spouses, aunts, uncles and cousins; many of whom we know all our lives. There are others too like friends, teachers, coaches and mentors, some who may enter our lives for brief periods. At times we may even take them for granted, as well as the bonds we form and the emotional attachments to such individuals. These remarkable persons make an indelible impression on us and in turn, we impact their lives too.

Occasionally, stop and take a moment to reflect and appreciate those we love still in our world who brighten our days, and those with whom we have only memories and eternal love in our hearts.

As I write this, I’m thinking of an amazing and beautiful lady who became my aunt and dear friend. She was one of my favorite persons in the world. She was compassionate, empathetic, thoughtful and generous of self, with a laugh that would light up a room. Those who knew her and loved her …. her family, friends and students … were showered with her love, friendship and goodness. I believe we are all better persons for having had Joy in our lives. Sending balloons to heaven … 

Heart Balloon Cookies
Egg Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted with AmeriColor Super White
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted Bright Yellow with AmeriColor Lemon Yellow
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #3
Air Brush Kit or Wilton Color Mist
AmeriColor Airbrush Colors (Sky Blue, Leaf Green)
Tall Grass Stencil
Cloud Stencil
Sugarbelle Black Food Gel Pen

Outline and flood cookie with #3 tip in white icing. Let dry overnight.

Cut out cloud stencil.
 (use angel cutter to trace curves)

Place cloud stencil on cookie. Spray several rows with blue airbrush color. Let dry 15 minutes.

Place grass stencil on cookie. Spray with green airbrush color. Let dry 15 minutes.
Tilt stencil and spray grass stencil again.

Let dry 15 minutes.

Pipe heart balloon with #2 tip in yellow icing.

Draw string with black food gel pen




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OREO MINI TRIFLE/ Cookies & Cream

I bet if you took a poll, Chocolate Chip Cookies would come in first as America's favorite cookie. I bet Oreo cookies would come in second. Who can resist that chocolate sandwich cookie stuffed with fluffy, white cream. Since it’s creation in 1912, we have discovered there are lots of ways to eat an Oreo. Is it just a kid-thing to untwist the cookie and indulge in the white cream first or do adults do it too? I mean, there is an art to eating Oreos. Also, there are oodles and oodles of fabulous desserts ... Oreo pies, cakes and even Oreo frosting. Don’t forget Oreo ice cream a/k/a Cookies & Cream.

* * * * *
Cookies and cake are my thing and I rarely stray from what I know, but I decided to make individual mini trifles. Mixing the ingredients and assembly was easy. Although, it was a challenge to photograph quickly before the whipped cream softened and lost its shape.

Oreo Mini-Trifle
Chocolate Cake or Brownie
Oreo Cookies & Cream Pudding Mix
Whipped Cream
2 cups Milk
9 Oreos

I received no compensation for the endorsement of any product.

Cut chocolate cake into small chunks
Chop 6 Oreos into small chunks
Chop 3 Oreos into fine crumbs. Set aside
Prepare Oreo pudding according to package directions

To assemble
Fill bottom of each glass with chunks of chocolate cake
Add layer of pudding
Add layer of chopped Oreos
Add another layer of cake chunks and a layer of pudding
Top with whipped cream
Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs (optional)

 Hint: Refrigerate and add whipped cream immediately before serving.



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IRISH SCONES/ What the Guide Books Don't Tell you

. . . . about Ireland.

The Emerald Isle is as beautiful as they say and on a recent trip to my ancestral homeland, my husband and I discovered many things not in the guide books and travel websites. Such as:

Irish music is scarce in Ireland. No kidding! The young Irish generation does not like Celtic music.

Irish Pubs play 70’s music and folk singers belt out tunes from American musicians such as Simon & Garfunkel, The Eagles and Van Morrison. Brown Eyed Girl was a big favorite!

Ham hocks and pork belly were common menu items. There was plenty of fish & chips but no baked potatoes. Servers do not leave your bill at your table until you ask for it.

There are lots of Italian restaurants and gelato shops … yum!

There is an O'Connell's Pub in every town. Good thing!

It doesn't always rain in Ireland; we had only one day of rain out of 14. May gave us a mix of sunny and cloudy weather, no crowds and temps from 48 to 78.

The Irish are very happy and friendly people, like the Kiwis in New Zealand.

When we checked into hotels and asked about bad areas to avoid, we were met with perplexed looks from the clerks who replied … 'there is no crime in Ireland.'

Not everyone has an Irish accent; many are from Australia and Americans attending Irish colleges for a mere $3,000 annual tuition.

There are unisex bathrooms at a crowded and touristy Cliffs of Moher. Stay behind the safety barriers, skip the selfies and purchase a post card; we witnessed two tourists slip and nearly fall off the cliffs.

There are major highways connecting cities but most country roads are beyond narrow with no shoulders, prickly shrubs, stone walls, blind curves and high speed limits. We unwittingly drove Conor Pass along craggy cliffs with barely a lane and fog … it took a year off my life!

We stayed in 5-star hotels yet electrical outlets and mirrors were scarce. None of our seven hotels had a bathroom outlet; blow drying my hair was a challenge.

Most hotels have elevators (called the lift), but we often had to schlepp our luggage up a short staircase after getting off the elevator.

Leaving Ireland to fly home, Dublin Airport has two security checkpoints: Irish and American plus U.S. Immigration and Customs. Many Americans are unaware and miss their homebound flights. Pack your patience and plan to arrive at the airport 4 hours ahead of your flight. There are nearly two dozen European airports with this system.

The Irish Scones were the best and my favorite breakfast with clotted cream and jam. I whipped up my first batch ever for this Irish lass.

1/2 cup Butter (1 stick), chilled
1 Egg
1¼ cups Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
3 cups Flour

Cut cold butter into squares. Keep cold in refrigerator. Stir egg and cream with fork. Set aside.
Whisk sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour. Add butter and toss to coat. 
Using fingers or pastry blender, work butter into flour mixture until pea size.
Make a well in center. Pour egg and cream mixture into well. Mix all ingredients with fork until shaggy dough forms
(may look dry). Do not overwork dough. Lightly knead dough in bowl until it comes together.

Turn out onto floured surface and pat into square one to two inches thick. Cut into wedges using bench scraper.
Place on baking sheet. Brush dough with cream (optional) and sprinkle with sugar (optional).

Bake until golden brown for 25-30 minutes at 375. Makes 12-15 one-inch-thick scones or 8-10 two-inch-thick scones.
[This is the Best Cream Scones recipe at Bon Appetit]

Serve with soft butter and raspberry jam or ....

... with lemon curd



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